Author's Note: Well, it's been almost six months since I've been on here. Ever since I finished After Goodbye I've tried to work on a few other plots, but though a lot of them held promise, they just weren't concrete enough for me. I suppose it's mainly due to the whole stress of college speeding by, but it's term break now, so I've had the time to sit down and write a little. And though it's pretty pathetic that all I have to show for the six-month absence and the change of environment is a oneshot, I did try my hardest.

Rated T, because there's none of the strong language this time around (hmm, shocking. Haha). Still, there are some adult themes ahead, and though they're only hinted at, it still might make a few uncomfortable. Just a heads-up, if it actually matters. Haha. Hope you enjoy this one. (:


She opens her eyes: the room is dark. For a moment she thinks she's where she's supposed to be, but she turns, and he's there beside her on the bed, serene and sinful. He is lying on his belly with his face towards her, the sheets tangled around his waist and legs, his long hair and naked skin glinting in the pale twilight. She reaches out; traces his muscled shoulder blades with her fingertips. He doesn't stir.

She pulls the sheets up to cover herself as she moves closer to him, close enough to see the slight pillow creases on his cheek. She wonders how long they've been sleeping. The others will be looking for her now. They might worry.

They have good reason to, she thinks to herself, watching him, his breathing deep and even. With her thumb, she follows the line of his jaw, brushing against his lip. Jesus, could he kiss – in fact, that had been the root of all this evil. She would have said no to all of this, but the way he had kissed her the other night, right in the shadow of the Hanabishis' back porch – her heart begins to race just thinking about it.

"Just this once," he had breathed into her ear earlier today, when she had met with him. "And after this –"

"– never again," she had said as firmly as she could, despite his urgent nipping at her neck. And it was exactly what she kept telling herself throughout their lovemaking, in the midst of the heat and rapture, in spite of the pleasure ripping through her conscience, even though she knew she would want this moment again and again in the years to come. Never again. She could hardly even live with today.

Things had changed: they both knew as much. Back in college, they wouldn't have needed to meet in any run-down bars just to get their fill of each other. She loved him; he loved her – it was simple. There was no rhyme or rhetoric to that perfect reciprocity. There were no secrets to it, and therefore no point in making it a secret of it. She kissed him outside the ice cream parlor, when he promised to tutor her in Physics. And he held her hand when she took him out for his birthday. What was there to hide?

Everyone had their doubts, of course – there was no forgetting the solemn yet exasperated Well, if you must look Domon had given her when she had explained everything – but in the end, they won everyone over. Things were going brilliantly.

So naturally, it was a horrified Yanagi who had demanded, "Then why on earth are you breaking up?"

"Because," she had tried to answer – and then she could not. "Because." She left it at that.

Yanagi, of course, was not satisfied and, for weeks afterward, kept badgering her about it. Yes, they were breaking up. Yes, after two years. Yes, they were going to stay friends. But what the two of them had made a point of not mentioning was the real reason they had broken up: he was graduating, and neither of them were too keen on a long-distance relationship. In any case, he felt it was too early to settle.

"I mean," he had said to her one night, "it'll happen if it's meant to happen, right?"

She had looked away, staring pensively into something beyond his dorm room window. "Yeah, you're right. We can wait."

She watches him now as he turns in his sleep, shifting to lie flat on his back, one arm thrown across his eyes. The marble-colored half-light is gone. In its place the city's colored lights filter in from his blinds, illuminating his jaw, the cords in his neck, his chest, his muscled abdomen, the contours of his stomach… A knot of want clenches deep in her belly. She bites her lip.

She wonders how it could have come to this, to sneaking around with each other. Not that it's going to happen again, she thinks fiercely, getting out of bed. She had waited, quite faithfully, for a few years. And then she had gotten sick of waiting, of searching for him, of hoping he'd come back for her. So she stopped putting her life on hold and found herself… someone else.

He was the one who was always leaving. This isn't my fault.

She pads softly into the bathroom and turns on the light. In the mirror, someone who isn't quite her stares at her, wide-eyed, wild-haired, pale as fear, grim as discontent. She takes his bathrobe from the hooks behind the door – she can't stand the sight of her naked, not in his bathroom.

This isn't my fault.

She pulls the robe tight around her and leaves the light on. Returning to his bedroom, she begins picking up her clothes from the floor. She dresses in the bathroom, and when she emerges she's almost as decent as before this whole mess happened.

A mess maybe. But it isn't my fault. She's becoming a little sick of having to convince herself, but she's doing it for their sake, because they can't know that this – anything – happened between them. She wants him, but the beauty of it is she cannot stomach the hurt.

She regrets everything.

She stands at the bathroom doorway for a while, marveling at how the sallow fluorescent light throws a moonlit glow across the bedroom – but then, her fingers find the switch, and the moment is gone. She makes her way to his bedside and bends over him, brushing her lips over his ear.

"I'll see you at the wedding tomorrow, Mi-chan," she whispers, pressing a kiss to his temple. She trusts he'll understand, trusts he won't call. She doesn't need her groom suspecting anything.

This isn't my fault.

The clock on Tokiya's nightstand reads half-past-six. She swallows hard. It is late; she needs to go. They will worry.

And Raiha will be waiting.


Well, I did say I tried. A little on the sensual side, but I did keep it safe.

Just for your daily dose of Learn Something New Every Day: in case you haven't come across the term, half-light is defined by the Wiktionary and the Princeton Dictionary as a greyish light, often observed during dawn, or (as in this case) dusk, or even in dim interiors. (I was rereading a few books last night and when I saw the word, this whole scenario just sprang into my mind.)

Anyone else think that ending was a cheap shot? Or maybe it isn't as bad as I think it is? (Because believe me, it was much worse before the revisions.) In any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. (: